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Centre for Voice in Performance

The national centre of excellence for the teaching, practice and research of Voice in Performance

The Centre for Voice in Performance (CfViP) is the Royal Conservatoire’s national centre of excellence for the teaching, practice and research of Voice in Performance, established to advance the School of Drama’s outstanding national and international reputation in this field.

The Centre for Voice collaborates and works with students and staff from across RCS. Students within the School of Drama will regularly work with Voice tutors and the skills learned are often cited as vital when they graduate and work in the professional industry.

Its ground-breaking work is rooted in the work of Nadine George, (Voice Studio International) our first International Fellow in Voice, adapted in response to professional performance contexts.

At the heart of the Centre’s work is the uniqueness of each human voice, the centrality of voice to performance and voice’s innovative integration into the theatre/performance-making process itself. The Centre’s pioneering practice is now well-established in the current theatre voice context through significant partnerships with, amongst others, the National Theatre of Scotland, the Traverse Theatre and Dundee Repertory Theatre.

Staff from the Centre teach this cutting-edge vocal practice on the School’s undergraduate and postgraduate performance programmes and are also engaged in the research and development of the work in conjunction with professional actors, directors, movement specialists and contemporary performance practitioners, ensuring a conduit of innovative practice between training and the profession.

Head of Voice (School of Dance, Drama, Production and Film) and Centre for Voice in Performance: Jean Sangster

Student Praise for the CfViP

‘The continuous individual feedback in each class is invaluable as it is thorough and concise and therefore helpful in identifying and summarising what to take from each experience.’

‘Every one of us was complimented and given an individual task to go away with. I’ve rarely, if ever, experienced that individual attention in this kind of setting before.

‘I feel I now have a richer understanding of my voice, and how I can use it fully to communicate mood, emotion, character qualities and situation.’


The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland was the first conservatoire in the UK to introduce the vocal practice of Nadine George into its voice curriculum over twenty years ago. When we established our Centre for Voice in Performance in 2006, this voice work became the central approach to voice studies in the School of Drama.

Voice is a central component of all performance programmes and students are provided with a thorough theoretical and practical grounding in every aspect of voice and text work. Whether those texts are conventionally written or found or devised, whether poetry, prose or drama, whether classical or the latest in new writing, the challenge of investigating them physically and imaginatively in order to communicate them to others demands everything of the speaker.

Additionally, on some programmes, students study singing, dialects and Scots language for Scots and non-Scots alike. Within Musical Theatre programmes, the Centre is spearheading the unique relationship between its spoken practice and the various singing styles of musical theatre, to produce a distinctive training for our students.

Particular emphasis is laid on daily practice and the need for students to be independent learners taking responsibility for the development of their own voices and their individual vocal learning journeys. Centre staff continue to work on their own voices using George’s work. They also regularly train together as a staff team, occasionally joined by performance colleagues, ensuring an integration of disciplines for staff and students alike.

What Students Say:

‘These lessons have really helped me explore my voice, and realise how much more potential it has I thought you were just born with it, and learned ”˜to project’.’

‘I was amazed at how different placements really do change how we feel and how we are. It’s also lovely to see the rest of the class explore what they can do and see how they change and develop.’

‘I was so surprised at how full my voice actually is. I was quite overwhelmed by the power that came out but also excited to know that there is this deeper level that I am free to develop and explore.’


Head of Voice (School of Dance, Drama, Production & Film) and Centre for Voice in Performance

  • Jean Sangster

Lecturers in Voice (SDDPF)

  • Hilary Jones
  • Bill Wright
  • Mel Drake
  • Gordon Adams

Lecturers in Voice for Media (SDDPF)

  • Hilary Jones

Visiting Voice Teachers

  • Ros Steen
  • Nadine George

Growing Voices

It is over 25 years since the vocal practice of Dr Nadine George of Voice Studio International was introduced to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Scottish theatre. The work was then developed and researched within performance training and professional theatre productions where it had a significant impact on rehearsal performance practice, the role of the voice specialist in production and on the application of the vocal work to directors, the direction process, and new writing. The work became the core vocal practice of the Conservatoire in 2006, when Professor Ros Steen established the Centre for Voice in Performance.

Growing Voices charts the growth and development of the work’s impact on training and the profession through a range of responses from directors, voice practitioners, playwrights, actors, staff and students, who speak in their individual voices about their relationship to the work.

This first publication from the Centre for Voice in Performance is a testament to the profound impact of Nadine George and her method:

‘…the technique opened a whole new thing which has been amazing – the voice, the communication, the vibration and resonance and the energies.’

John Tiffany, Director (Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildBlack Watch, Once)

To request a hard copy contact Jean Sangster

Lifelong Learning

Courses designed to help develop your vocal and presentation skills – suitable for all professions and sectors

Whatever sector you work in or whether you are in individual simply wanting to develop your confidence, the courses we offer are designed to help you perfect your technique. Some are more suited to actors but others are appropriate for people from any profession. People who have attended our courses in the past include HR Directors, fundraisers, teachers and bank managers. Courses generally take place at our premises in Renfrew Street but we are also able to come and work in your business. Talk to us and find out more.

Please contact / 0141 270 8217 to discuss your training needs, or contact Elaine Hook at Centre for Voice to be added to the mailing list for the next course.

Published Research

The Centre’s published research includes:

  • Earthing the Electric: voice directing the directors by Ros Steen is published in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, Vol 3 (3) 2012, Routledge.
  • Managing Performance Stress: The role of EMDR in Vocal Training by Hilary Jones, first presented at the British Voice Associations International ”˜Choice for Voice’ conference in 2010, published in the conference proceedings.
  • Seein Oursels as Ithers See Usby Ros Steen, originally published pp 281 -290 in Voice and Gender and other contemporary issues in professional voice and speech training presented by the Voice and Speech Review, Mandy Rees, ed, Cincinnati, OH: Voice and Speech Trainers Assoc., Inc., 2007, ISBN 978-0-9773876-1-8 Used with permission.
  • Helena, Hitler and the Heartland: Ros Steen, pp 43 -58 originally published in Shakespeare Around the Globe and other contemporary issues in professional voice and speech training presented by the Voice and Speech Review, Mandy Rees, ed, Cincinnati, OH: Voice and Speech Trainers Assoc., Inc., 2005, ISBN 0-9773876-0-7 Used with permission.
  • Strange Geometrical Hinges: CDS conference, 2009, Ros Steen
  • What We May Be: the integration of Lecoq Movement and George voice work at the RSAMD, Ros Steen and Joyce Deans, pp 46-62 in The Moving Voice, the Integration of Voice and Movement Studies presented by the Voice and Speech Review, Rena Cook, ed, Voice and Speech Trainers Assoc., Inc., 2009, ISBN 978-1-934269-55-8; Used with permission
  • Double-hinged Doors: The RSAMD’s voice work in Training and Theatre, LIPA conference, 2008, Ros Steen and Bill Wright
  • Teaching Voice in the New Millennium: International Centre for Voice, Central School of Speech and Drama, 2006, Ros Steen.
  • Voices of Scotland: VASTA 2005 conference, Ros Steen.
  • The Muscle of the Soul: by Ros Steen, on Suspect Culture’s ”˜Strange Behaviour’ website, 2001

Finding a Voice

The impact of Ros Steen’s practice-based research on the voice in theatre can be seen in the National Theatre of Scotland’s productions Black Watch and Macbeth. Steen’s research at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland takes as its starting point the voice work of Alfred Wolfsohn, Roy Hart and Nadine George, placing the unique connection of the individual’s voice to the self at the centre of the creative process in production. Her research, which has been developed since 1997 and is unique in theatre, ensures a visceral and transformative experience for performers and audiences alike.

The impact of her work is felt within individual productions; in their critical reception; and in the development in Scotland of an integrated community of practice embracing writers, actors and directors a positive creative ecology that has helped to radicalise views of what is possible in the theatre.

Cummings’s grasp of the poetry [of Macbeth] is so complete, and his raw emotional immersion in it is so total, that the audience remains absolutely gripped by the narrative; and unable to resist the sense of being pulled by the story towards the very brink of hell”¦ (The Scotsman 16/6/13, Joyce McMillan)

If the whole thing was disbanded tomorrow, [Black Watch] would ensure the National Theatre of Scotland’s place not just in the history of Scottish theatre but theatre everywhere. (The Times, 2010).